Jane Rogers, who was the first person hired by the Staten Island Yankees in 1999, told the Advance on Friday that her position as the teams senior vice president of baseball operations was recently terminated.
But theres a chance she could return if there is a 2021 season for the S.I. Yankees, according to the teams president.
Rogers and most of the Staten Island Yankee staff had been originally furloughed after the 2020 season was delayed because of the pandemic. When the season was officially cancelled in late June, most of those furlough employees were terminated, according to Rogers.
Its been difficult, real difficult, said Rogers. I didnt want to go out this way. Ive been a part of the Staten Island Yankees since 1999 and I miss it."
Complicating matters for Rogers and some of her colleagues is the uncertainty of the teams future. The Staten Island Yankees, who play in the New York-Penn League, could be one of the 40 minor league teams that are expected to be contracted by Major League Baseball later this month when the minor-league player development deal with the MLB runs out.
Staten Island Yankees president/operating partner Will Smith said COVID-19 and the tough times in the minor league environment led to Rogers' departure, but he didnt rule out her return.
If there is a season in 2021 all those who were furloughed will be asked to come back, including Jane, said Smith, who said his team has not made any money since the last day of the 2019 season and are down to only three employees on their payroll. "The decisions by MLB and our elected leaders to (shutter) the 2020 season have severely impacted the Staten Island Yankees present business.
"Verified reports of MLBs plan to eliminate short-season baseball have seriously impacted forecasted future business. The combination of both have made daily operations unsustainable. Difficult decisions were made to furlough much of the SIY staff months ago. Our benefits provider instructed us saying we could not keep paying 100% of our furloughed employees' benefits beyond July. In our eyes, everyone is still furloughed and part of the family. We believe we are on good terms and hope to get the back together ASAP when the future of professional baseball at Richmond County Bank Ballpark is clear.
Also, we hope that MLB sees how impactful their decisions are on the community and people of Staten Island. There is still time to alter their plans and keep baseball alive so we can all get back together.
Whether or not the Staten Island Yankees will exist in 2021 or the 64-year-old Rogers returns to her office at Richmond County Bank Ballpark at St. George, she said "its been a good run.
I have grown to love the Staten Island community and I think they love me, too, she said. I wanted to go out on my terms. Im still hopeful (that there will be a season in 2021).
Jane Rogers throws out a ceremonial first pitch. August 21, 2019. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)
If anything, Rogers has had an impressive climb up the S.I. Yankees' front-office ladder.
After her first six seasons with the New York Yankees' Single-A short-season affiliate, she progressed from office manager to assistant general manager to general manager.
Rogers remained the teams general manager until 2019, when she was promoted to senior vice president, baseball operations. In her new role, Rogers arranged for the ballplayers' lodging, travel, etc., and was the liaison between the front office and teams manager and coaches.
Additionally, she administered the internship program involving college students and their introduction into the sport management field.
A breast cancer survivor, she was honored by the team in August of 2018 after being diagnosed with the sickness in March of 2018. The teams players and coaches all shaved their heads and both teams wore pink that night as part of a breast cancer awareness fundraiser.
Not being here was the most difficult part, said Rogers at the time. Other than being diagnosed, going through chemotherapy and surgery at the end of this. We didnt know how Id react to treatment and it was pretty tough, but I kept contact with our coach, managers and Will [Smith, team president] but the hardest part was not being here. Its a fantastic front office and a fantastic team and they kept me in the loop.
Rogers was named the New York-Penn League Executive of the Year in 2018.
During her tenure, the Staten Island Yankees won six NY-P League crowns.
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